When it comes to money, Massachusetts couples face a big question: Combine finances, keep them separate or do a combination of both?
Now, research finds that those who do pool their money are more likely to stay together.
The study, titled “Pooling finances and relationship satisfaction,” found that whether or not couples combine their money may make or break a relationship. The research focused on bank accounts and liquid wealth.
“We did see that couples who pool their finances are less likely to break up than couples who keep their finances separate,” said Emily Garbinsky, an associate professor of marketing and management communication at Cornell University, who co-authored the study.
Supporting that idea, a survey from CreditCards.com found about 43% of couples who are married, in a civil partnership or living together have joint assets.
Baby boomers are most likely to have only joint accounts, with 49%, followed by Gen Xers, with 48%, versus just 31% of millennials, the CreditCards.com survey found.
Having joint accounts benefitted all couples, though the effect was stronger with some couples versus others, according to Garbinsky.
Low-income couples, for example, tended to see greater benefits of pooling their money.
The same also went for couples in more collectivist versus individualistic cultures, based on differences the researchers observed between Japan and the U.S.
The researchers also looked at online discussions regarding how couples handle money on forums like Quora and Reddit. Those who combine their finances were more likely to refer to “our money” versus those who kept it separate and were more likely to say “my money.”
“These simple pronouns over time reinforce these perceptions of being on a team versus not,” Garbinsky said.
The findings coincide with other research Garbinsky has done that finds many couples tend to avoid discussing money, she said.
“Couples admit that they don’t like talking about finances with their partner,” Garbinsky said. “They anticipate conflict.
“They think if they talk about their finances that they’re going to end up fighting about it.”
However, the research shows communication is a good thing.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.